Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So This is Christmas

We had a great Christmas. John's parents got the kids a slot-car racing track. We stayed up until 2:30 setting it up and getting it ready for Christmas morning. It is waaaaay cool! I spent an inordinate amount of time as a child with my brothers and sisters putting together tracks and racing our cars in the basement. This new track far exceeds the ones we had as kids, and we are lovin' it. We also got MarioKart, which we are so happy to finally get! It's also just as much fun as expected. I, however, officially suck.

We traveled the day after Christmas to see family and friends. As my parents are trying to downsize their very large house, we felt this might be the last hurrah at their place. My sister came from New Mexico, and we had a great time catching up and spending time together. Of course, we also got to spend time with Auntie Nina. She and G. Midge planned a huge day with the kids, ending at one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook the food at the table. We had just watched a program on the food network about one of those places, and it was pretty cool for the kids to get to go.

We ended up at the Coulters....where it's always a good time! There were about 400 kids running around, playing, having a blast. We all had a go at Dance Dance Revolution, and Max brought out his new nerf gun...the Vulcan.

We're happy to be back home, enjoying all of our new toys, looking forward to ringing in 2009.

Our Awesome Scalectric Racetracks
Christmas Crackers

John's Fabulous Christmas Dinner
My Fabulous New Apron


Presents at G. Judy's
Playing Skittles

The "Shann-Wich"

Nerf Wars

Dance Dance Revoltion

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

John and the kids went searching in the woods for a little bit of mistletoe...they ended up up chopping down a dead tree, harvesting more firewood to heat our home, and coming home with several sprigs of mistletoe placed strategically throughout the house....
I have no pictures, but the rest of the day was spent merrily in WoW land. It has been our passion of choice of late, thanks to the Traaseths and their extraordinarily generous selves :)
And what better way to spend Christmas Eve, than in the company of Ralphie, pining away for that Red Rider BB Gun...can you say Fra-gi-ley?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pursuing Happiness

One really cool thing that I have noticed with my kids is their willingness to try something totally outside their comfort zone, just because it sounds like fun. They are not worried if it's cool to try it, or if they'll look stupid because they've never done it before. I think it has something to do with their freedom to choose how they spend their time. Everything they choose to do, they choose to do it because it is meaningful to them, or they get great joy out of it, or it helps them on their journey to do something else. They aren't so much worried about others' perceptions of them... just pursuing happiness.

Sophie Pursuing Happiness...in the form of Recreational Basketball

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I was asked by some friends to be in a variety show they were producing. They wanted me and several of my students to be in a belly dance number. I declined on the grounds that the vision they had for the piece conflicted with my philosophy of ATS(American Tribal Style Belly dance). However, I told them Max and I did a duet, combining hip-hop and tribal belly dance. They liked it and a Pinocchio-themed piece was created! Max is most definitely the star. I am simply the back-up dancer. He steals the show anyway...I mean, how could he not? Lo and behold, they discovered Ella could do gymnastics, and asked her to be in the show as well.

At one of our rehearsals, an incredible videographer filmed the proceedings. He made this promo video and now it's on YouTube. Yup, we're famous :)

Much to be thankful for

We hosted Thanksgiving year. My parents came, as well as one of my brothers, his wife, and their two daughters.
Thanksgiving has always held a very special place in our family. My parents (my mom and step dad) met on Thanksgiving 32 years ago. I was 4 years old. See, my sister went to kindergarten with these twin boys whose mother had died shortly after giving birth. She invited them with their dad to our house to celebrate the holiday. 4 months later my parents got married. It was truly a fairytale romance.
We had a wonderful time cooking, eating, hiking, climbing, and playing games. We really do have so much to be thankful for... our family, our home, our lifestyle which allows us all to shine... I love my life.

Uno, good coffee, hot chocolate, and cinnamon rolls

Littlest Pet Shop resurrects itself..along with Dora's House

Cooking and drinking beer around the kitchen...c'mon!

Another trip to Rock Town

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ella's Birthday

Happy Birthday Beautiful Ella!
I love you with all of my heart. You have added so much joy and love to my life. You have challenged me to be not only a better parent, but a better person.

Sharing the birthday shine

The anticipation....

Hallelujah.... a DS Lite!

Birthday Bowling

Sharing a love of DS-ing

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cold Autumn Days

John's parents came up for a visit this weekend. Alex, Sophie and I collected colorful leaves from our woods to fill the house with some Fall color. It was cold all weekend and we enjoyed having a warm fire. We had an incredible meal out at The Meeting Place. We played some board games and introduced G. Midge and G. Mike to some of our favorite television. Oh, and the boys have just about convinced G. Mike to join Runescape so they can meet up and play together on-line.

Alex's Arrangement #1

Alex's Arrangement #2

Sophie's Arrangement

Mindy's Arrangement

Friday, November 14, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance

We finally got to go. After 2 years of loving the passion that exudes off the small screen, we went to see the top 10 dancers from the 2008 season of So You Think You Can Dance.

Even though we had arguable the crappiest seats in the house (thanks to my unwitting trust in Ticketmaster), it was still fantastic. We fell in love again with some of our favorite dances, and I was blown away by things I saw live that did not impress me so much on TV. Mia Michael's holds a place in my heart as my favorite choreographer, but Napoleon and Tabitha are a close second. No Air, Bleeding Heart, and the whole group black and white circus number were my favorites of the night.

As great as the show was, the prelude and the company were even better. We have not seen these guys since L&L in September, so we were needing a serious fix. We met Madeline, Gillan, and Jesse at the mall to hang out for a couple of hours before the show. We decided on the mall so the kids could be excited around each other, have plenty of space to move, we could be inside, and Madeline and I could get a coffee. We also wanted space to make our giant posters with the names of our favorite dancers displayed on them. The mall was a blast. We made our posters, the kids wandered into a few shops, and then Gillan went in search of prices for a giant bungee thingy. It was only $5! Gillen, Max, Jesse, Alex, and Ella were sold immediately, but Sophie needed a bit more convincing before she would part with her cold, hard cash. It was hilarious, and the kids had a blast! When Max, got off from his first time, I heard him say to Gillan, "Dude, I'm so glad you checked the prices!" After everyone had a go, Max, Gillen and Jesse decided to have another run....I think it was too much of a good thing. They all were really tired and feeling a bit sick and sore after that second go round.

We left the mall for a pizza joint and had the best New York style pizza ever. It was the perfect place for more time together before the show.

The show was crazy! There were so many people there and it was truly exciting. We got to our seats, realized our fabulous posters were not going to work, and proceeded to strain and squirm in order to see the stage. Note to self....never, ever buy floor seats....even if Ticketmaster is trying to tell you they are the best available. Floor seats suck!

The second half of the show was phenomenal. I'm so glad we went and that we got to share something so special, that we love so much, with some of our favorite people in the whole wide world.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We had a fabulous time this past weekend in East Tennessee. Thank you Ren, for organizing a great gathering of unschoolers. It was really relaxing, and we were all able to connect a bit more with old friends and new. I love these smaller get-togethers for that reason. While some of our favorite friends were greatly missed, we got to know some other really awesome people that I know we'll keep in touch with in the months to come. I didn't get many pictures, and wish I had some to commemorate the following moments... the ladies who came to dance with me; Elisabeth and Marissa who took Ella under their wings; Lexie, Kat, Livie and Ella swinging and hiking and playing together; Gail and her amazing art project; Kass and her sister and their paraffin hand wax; all the fairy god parents and children; Max C. hanging with my Max; Sophie, Sierra, Kiera, and Sadie hanging out together; Alex finally getting to experience WoW under Alec's tutelage; doing the dollar store with Kelli, Abby and Olivia; the great cabins with the front porch swings and rocking chairs...especially with a few of us rocking away, sipping wine, chatting it up.

At the top of Roan Mountain
Ella and Livia palying on the rocks
The last night
Max ready to melt down after a day of hard playing